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This I Believe: Dr. Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff (DMin ’19)

The Alumnx Council of PSR meets bi-monthly. As a practice, they take turns sharing “This I Believe.” We’ll post these inspiring testimonials as they are created.

This month’s post is from Dr. Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff (DMin ’19)

Once upon a time – okay, let’s not get too formal, it was just this morning – I found myself sitting across from a parishioner in a bustling coffee shop during a Bible Study. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted through the air, the clatter of mugs and the hum of chatter surrounding us. With Bibles in hand, we opened to Psalm 13: “How long, O Lord, will you forget me? Forever?” In the midst of a coffee shop, this piercing opening line of Psalm 13 was beckoning us on a journey into the heart of vulnerability. A journey that had been waiting for us for decades.

 Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Vulnerability? Yikes! Isn’t that just willingly opening yourself for potential hurt?” Well, yes… and no. Stick with me here. It’s like skydiving – terrifying at first, but once you leap, it’s pure exhilaration. And, trust me, the landing is much softer.

 My parishioner – let’s call her Sally – started sharing about a recent setback. As she opened up, her eyes welled up with tears, and her voice quivered. She was sharing a part of herself that was raw and real. It was like watching an artist paint their deepest emotions onto a canvas, except the canvas was our Formica table, and the paint was her heartfelt words.

 As I listened, I found myself relating to her pain. I remembered my own setbacks, my own battles. And then, something magical happened. Another parishioner risked sharing a similar story of setbacks, her own vulnerabilities. We were no longer just a Bible Study group simply having coffee; we were human beings connecting on a profound level.

 It was like we had stumbled upon this secret door—the kind that opened if you picked the right book from the bookcase, which might open into a room filled with empathy, understanding, and deep connection. You see, vulnerability isn’t just about opening up; it’s also about letting others in. It’s a two-way street paved with trust and strewn with the petals of compassion.

 By sharing our vulnerabilities, our wounds started healing together. We were not alone in our struggles; we had each other. And our wounds galvanized our relationships. We laughed, we cried, and we healed a bit more with each shared story. Heck, even the barista seemed to be wiping away a tear – or did he get espresso bean grounds in his eye? Hard to tell.

 So, this, I believe: offering vulnerability and being open to it actually has superpowers that heal. Vulnerability may seem like that scary monster under the bed when you’re a kid. But once you muster up the courage to look, you realize it’s just a pile of old socks that need to be aired. Sharing deeply with people worthy of your trust doesn’t make you weak; it reveals your special superpower. And receiving someone else’s vulnerability is not just about listening; it’s about understanding, empathizing, and connecting.

 So, go ahead, take that leap. Open that secret door, and head into the room behind the bookcase. Share a piece of your heart with someone you trust… and receive one in return. You’ll find that vulnerability isn’t so scary after all. In fact, it’s pretty darn beautiful. It’s the key to healing, the bridge to connection, and the gateway to a deeper, more meaningful existence.

And remember, it can happen anywhere—just be sure to tip your barista!

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